With our work week and Michael and Sophie's three days a week at their child care center, cabin fever doesn't get too severe around here, but like any Michigan family, we do need to find ways to keep the indoors engaging while winter does its thing.
Here's one of my tricks:
I know what you're thinking, but give me some credit! I don't use it like that.
We use it like this:
Keepin' it real with the laundry in the background. Snow days ain't what they were in my single days, that's for sure!
Michael loved playing "Red Light, Green Light" while pushing his cars along the road. He kept saying, "Mommy and Daddy and Sophie and Michael are going to Grandma's house!"
We also use painter's tape like this:
Typically we listen to "Toddler Tunes" on the TV during play time and "Light Classical" or "Soundscapes" when we're winding down, but on this day (back around Christmas--we don't still have stockings up :P) I tried out "Party Favorites." "Just a Gigolo" wasn't what I'd had in mind, but it kept the course moving.
Clean-up is one of the highlights of this kind of play. I can sit back and rest while the kids peel up strip after strip of tape, carrying balls of the stuff into the garbage can in the bathroom. They get mad if I help, they enjoy this so much. That alone gets me time to drink a cup of coffee in relative peace.
I didn't intend for this to get particularly educational, but Michael asked me to make an "M" out of the tape (something I had done as part of the obstacle course in the past) and he and Sophie traced the first letters of their names with their cars this last time. I read something somewhere that said teaching kids phrases like "up-down-up-down" helps them to process the writing of letters, so this gave us a chance to really practice that. Saying, "Uuuuuuup, dooown, uuuup, dooooooown," became part of the game. We said, "Up around and down around," for the "S." I'm sure I just got them into Harvard with that one.
What are your simple tricks for keeping little ones occupied on long, winter or rainy, summer days? Please comment with other ideas! We're running low on tape.